Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Its good for the hospital but is it good for the patients?

This morning I am horrified (is that too much?) that the hospital, Lahey Clinic, where I go for all my treatment might merge with another hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess, buried in downtown Boston (which I avoid like the plague these days). I like Lahey. Its a 10-15 minute drive at most. It is in the suburbs. It is convenient. I can find everything I need there. Don't change it! If I need something, like a test, procedure or other medical adventure, its all in the same place. They do have other offices around the area but they are all within the same 10-15 minutes except the one that is 5 minutes from one of my jobs. I don't have to get a road map to get to my appointments and deal with traffic, stress, and parking.

They are only in preliminary talks with BID and it could be some time in the future. "Hospitals across Massachusetts are merging or considering it, because of a growing trend toward giving providers an annual budget for each patient, adjusted for the patient’s specific medical condition, rather than separate fees for each appointment, test, and procedure. Doctors and hospitals that are part of larger coordinated networks and can oversee all of a patient’s medical needs are considered most likely to succeed under this system of global payments."

I appreciate that the hospitals want to survive but this is the part I don't like. "While ultimately successful, the Beth Israel Deaconess merger was deeply troubled for years." I don't want a hospital which is 'deeply troubled'. I want a hospital that takes good care of its patients, is nice to them, and has a decent cafeteria and everything is in the same place.

It is noted that "if they merge and bring on community hospitals, they would form “a really rich and formidable network’’ that would “provide a great deal of choice’’ for patients."

Well that's nice. But in the meantime all I ask is that you please pay attention to the patients and their abilities to accept change in their medical treatment. I do not want to be sent to downtown Boston for treatment or tests. I want everything to be conveniently located in the same building. Call me whiny if you want but I'm not changing.

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